Pros / This provider has the most affordable average comprehensive coverage premium.
Cons / There weren’t any plans available in the Northwest.
Verdict / Physicians Mutual had the most affordable comprehensive coverage plans and was among the most affordable for mid-range and basic plans.
Physicians Mutual is an insurance provider specializing in life insurance, supplemental Medicare and health care, and dental insurance. This insurance provider takes a simple approach to dental insurance, offering affordable plans with no deductible and coverage for over 350 procedures. In our evaluation, Physicians Mutual earned our pick for best value because of its consistently low premiums and simple yet comprehensive coverage.
With most dental insurance providers, the premiums varied significantly from region to region, but Physicians Mutual was consistently priced, varying only by a few nickels and dimes. Some providers, like Spirit Dental & Vision, can vary by as much as $30 between regions. The consistency Physicians Mutual offers is great for people who are planning to move and don’t want their premiums to increase.
Physicians Mutual’s comprehensive Preferred Plus plan covers 350 procedures and has the lowest average premium for individuals, couples and families. For example, the average for an individual under 50 was $37.55 per month while the average for all the other providers was $51.22 per month. When you consider the 470,000 provider locations across the U.S. where you can also receive additional savings (an average of 33 percent according to the provider’s website), a no-deductible and no annual maximum, it’s clear why this provider was our pick for best value. If you need a lot of work done, this plan is the most affordable.
For basic coverage, the Economy Plus option is also a good value, costing an average of $24 per month. While this cost is closer to average than the Preferred Plus plan, it’s also unlike other basic plans offered by providers like Humana. This is because the plan has the same coverage as the comprehensive plan, covering 350 procedures with the benefit of additional savings if you choose an in-network provider; the difference is Physicians Mutual doesn’t pay out as much on approved procedures. In other words, this is the best dental insurance plan for people who have healthy teeth, but are worried about the unexpected.
Physicians Mutual was often among the top three choices in each region I got quotes for because of its consistently low premiums. It also had three plans in each region. It’s particularly good in the West and South, though it lacks a presence in the Northwest – as do many other dental insurance providers. It was slightly less competitive in the central region of the U.S.and in the East, but it’s still better than most providers in those areas.
However, there are some disadvantages. Rather than paying dental offices directly for a portion of a procedure, Physicians Mutual reimburses you for procedures at a flat-rate, regardless of where you live. So, it requires you to submit claims. It also means you may not save as much on procedures as other dental providers if you live in an area where dental care is expensive. For example, it pays $61 for a filling, regardless of where you live. If a filling costs $300 in California and $150 in Ohio, you’re better off with a plan that pays for 50 percent of a procedure.
If you decide you want to do some price checking, to see if this plan is best for you, be sure to ask your dentist if non-insurance prices would apply, since he or she will not be dealing with the insurance company but with you directly. This could save you a lot of money, as dentists usually have lower prices for cash patients.
On average, Physicians Mutual’s consistently affordable and comprehensive plans are a great value, but only if a percentage based plan doesn’t make expensive procedures cheaper.